It said Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife were among 13 killed after an IAF chopper they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that General Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the Indian Force said in a tweet.
Earlier today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident. According to sources, Singh will brief Parliament on the incident tomorrow.
Sources earlier said that at least three injured people from the crash were taken to a nearby hospital. The crash took place in the Nilgiris, shortly after the Mi-series chopper took off from the army base in Sulur.
Rawat, 63, was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in late 2019.
The accident took place around noon near the town of Coonoor, and the dead include four crew members of the Mi-17V5 helicopter, the Air Force said in a tweet.